Syntactic Theory

Predicates and Arguments

In this section we will be concerned with the argument structure of predicates. The argument structure of predicates has three components:

Information about these three components is contained in the Lexicon which, in turn, feeds Deep Structure (for both notions, see The T-Model). The subcategorization frame of a lexical item gives information about the syntactic category an item requires, i.e. it is a formal property of the lexical item. The argument structure of a lexical item gives information about the number of arguments a lexical item requires. It is a conceptual or semantic property of the item, and more specifically, it is a quantitative property of the semantics of a predicate. The thematic structure, finally, also gives semantic information about a lexical item, but it is qualitative information. The thematic structure designates the thematic or the kind of roles a predicate has to give away.